The East Side Access tunnel that will connect the LIRR to Grand Central Terminal will cost nearly $ 5 billion; more than double the original estimate. And it could take another 10 years to complete. The chairman of the MTA called that "very disturbing" as he took over the project. MTA commuters were not happy either.
Taxpayers and commuters will eventually have to pay for the East Side Access cost overruns, according to the state's commuter advocate, Will Henderson, who said the overruns could put a real crimp on capital projects. That would mean reduced funding for new trains and repairing stations.
It has not been a good week for the MTA.
The No. 7 train extension is delayed too, though a mere three months. New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found that the MTA may have paid LIRR workers overtime on shifts they did not work.
A spokesman for the authority responded that the MTA agrees with the state comptroller that employees should be paid only for hours they work. The LIRR's planned expansion of biometric time clocks later this year will provide an additional level of oversight.
The MTA had no comment on the East Side Access overruns. Though it appears the manager of that project will not be working at the authority after March.